Summer is in full swing! It is the season of hauling supplies to the beach and camping, and then hauling those dirty, sandy supplies home. Don’t get us wrong, it is worth it! Sometimes a little tote bag that you don’t have to worry too much about comes in handy though! A bag that will look cute, hold a whole lot, and that can be thrown in the wash if it gets dirty or wet! That is why we think this No Sew T-shirt Tote Bag is the best project to whip up if you have an extra t-shirt lying around and a few minutes to spare!
A few of the perks of this bag have already been mentioned- washable, so simple, and made using recycled clothing that you have no other use for!It is an endlessly customizable tote bag that can be dressed up even more with a cute little flower pin, and can be made just the right size for whatever adventures your summer has in store! There is no sewing needed, due to the properties of the t-shirt fabric!
Materials Needed to Make DIY Tote Bag:
The first thing to do is select the right t-shirt. Any shirt that has been outgrown or is no longer useful can be great to repurpose, but we also love using t-shirts with a little bit of sentimental value. Boxy, unflattering t-shirt from a marathon or a family reunion? This is the perfect way to give that momento a new life! The size of your shirt will determine where you cut your shirt. If your shirt is quite large to start with, you will want to cut the sleeves off but leave the arm seams intact. This will add strength to the bag and stop the “handles” of the bag from stretching out any more. If you are starting with a smaller t-shirt to begin with, you might want to cut the seams off so that the handles stretch out further to make the bag hang lower. If you have rotary cutters, they make this a bit quicker, but sharp scissors will also work for this.
Cut a circle half circle in the front of your shirt that takes the crew neckline of your t-shirt with it. If you are concerned about your circle being even you can trace around a bowl or a lid. Another option is to fold your tshirt in half down the middle, then draw a crescent quarter circle. This is a bit easier to freehand than a full circle. Once you have cut the center of your tote bag out, meet the side seams together and line up the handle to be sure you have made all the holes big enough and like how it will hang.
Now that the top of your tshirt has been transformed into a tote bag, it is time to seal up the bottom with a simple knotted fringe. If you want a sleeker look you can turn the bag inside out and tie the knots on the inside. Personally, we love the fun look of fringe for summer! If you are starting with a very large t-shirt or are looking for a shorter t shirt tote bag, you can make your fringe extra long! Decide where to end your fringe and make 1 inch slits to that pint. This is where a rotary cutter really comes in handy, but again a sharp scissors will also work. Continue the strips along the bottom of your tshir with both halves of the tshirt together so that you cut matching strips in each half.
First tie knots in all of the “matching” strips along the bottom of your bag. Once these are all tied together, this will have closed off the bottom of your bag but will leave spaces between the knots. To close these spaces off, you will take the tails from two knots that are next to each other and tie a knot across the two by tying the “upper” tail of the left to the “lower” tail of the right knot, then vice versa.
Now that you have completed a functional recycled t-shirt tote bag, it is time to embellish it to add a little flair! While you could always add buttons or flowers directly to your tote bag, we love the option to swap the embellishment our onto another bag to mix things up. Since we used a boutineer hair clip combo, it could even be worn clipped into a cute hairstyle!
Assembling this cute floral purse embellishment was as easy as finding a few bright flowers for summer, attaching them to a felt circle with hot glue, then adding a brooch clip and a few cute button embellishments. The style of clip that you make is entirely up to you, and can completely change the look of your tote!
We hope you have fun making these easy and carefree no-sew t-shirt tote bags! We love a craft that uses recycled items and looks stylish as well!